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Middle school students co-author research on enzyme for activating promising disease-fighters

Date:
July 28, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Two middle school students from Wisconsin joined a team of scientists who are reporting the first glimpse of the innermost structure of a key bacterial enzyme. It helps activate certain antibiotics and anti-cancer agents so that those substances do their job.

These computerized images show the innermost structure of a key bacterial enzyme that helps activate certain antibiotics and anti-cancer agents.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Two middle school students from Wisconsin joined a team of scientists who are reporting the first glimpse of the innermost structure of a key bacterial enzyme. It helps activate certain antibiotics and anti-cancer agents so that those substances do their job.

Their study appears in ACS' weekly journal Biochemistry.

The student co-authors of the study are from Edgewood Campus Middle School in Madison and participated in Project CRYSTAL, a special program that provides middle school students with hands-on laboratory experience.

In the report, study leader Hazel Holden and colleagues note intense scientific interest in a chemical process called methylation, which increases the activity of DNA, proteins, and other substances in the body by transferring methyl (CH3) groups to them. Special enzymes called methyltransferases make methylation possible, and these proteins are very important in a myriad of key biological processes.

Holden and colleagues studied a bacterial methyltransferase involved in the production of tetronitrose, a component of the promising anti-cancer agent, tetrocarcin, and the antibiotic kijanimicin. The methyltransferase seems to play a key role in activating these disease-fighters. The scientists identified the 3D structure of this methyltransferase, a key step in determining how it works and how it might be modified for potential use in medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nathan A. Bruender, James B. Thoden, Manpreet Kaur, Marie K. Avey, Hazel M. Holden. Molecular Architecture of a C-3'-Methyltransferase Involved in the Biosynthesis of D-Tetronitrose. Biochemistry, 2010: 100622125956005 DOI: 10.1021/bi100782b

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Middle school students co-author research on enzyme for activating promising disease-fighters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728121422.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, July 28). Middle school students co-author research on enzyme for activating promising disease-fighters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728121422.htm
American Chemical Society. "Middle school students co-author research on enzyme for activating promising disease-fighters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728121422.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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